The Challenge: To design a new icon for Visual Studio Code, a lightweight, fast code editor that is part of the Visual Studio family of products. The project was done in a collaborative team environment, together with designer Bethel Blakesley, coordinator Cherry Wang, and design manager Lena Yeoh. 

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Stage One: Mood board. The design team created a mood board in OneNote to gather images and inspiration based on keywords that describe Visual Studio Code.

Stage Two: Sketches. I explored design possibilities by sketching ideas on paper. 

Stage Three:  Illustrator mock-ups. I continued to refine some of my ideas by creating versions of them in Illustrator. I tried to find ways to represent code in a literal way such as using lines and brackets. I also tried creating something to represent the keywords "fast" and "lightweight" and experimented with a thinner and lighter variation of the Visual Studio logo to suggest the idea that Code is lighter version of VS. I also tried variations using the letter C as an icon. My design partner and I came up with several hundred design variations. We then narrowed the ideas down and presented the best concepts to the stakeholders.

Stage Four: Variations on the top 5 designs. The stakeholders selected their favourite 5 designs. They liked the idea of using the letter C, and were also interested in a design using brackets that also suggested speed. We continued by exploring those 5 designs in more depth and creating variations of each of them.

Stage Five: The stakeholders selected a few more designs from the last round that they wanted to see some more variations of. They also wanted to see more designs with a simple letter C.

The Final Design: The selected design was a letter C with an infinity shape in the negative space. Since the Visual Studio logo is an infinity shape, this provided a subtle connection between Code and Visual Studio.

A few examples showing how the icon could look if used on merchandise.

Final Note: Ultimately, the design was never used because the direction for the branding of the Visual Studio family of projects changed and this design no longer fit in with that vision.

All designs and material displayed on this page are Copyright ©Microsoft.

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